Patterico's Pontifications


Right-wing Jesus School Stomps Hip & Progressive California Flagship University

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:55 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Can’t help but chortle at Liberty University’s (hello Reverend Falwell!) big win over UCLA in men’s basketball the other day. Preseason ranking for UCLA: 24. Preseason ranking for Liberty: 215. It got the UCLA coach fired.

I know we have readers and commenters with UCLA backgrounds. This isn’t meant to be a knock against you (though your alma mater did sell its soul to the Ball family three years ago). I am just enjoying the fact that a school which the majority of the people of the Golden State no doubt look down upon just whipped ass on the most storied program in NCAA basketball.


Political Commentator: Trump’s Top 10 Achievements of 2018

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:59 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I’ll just leave this here. Hit the link to read the entire explanation of listed accomplishments.

Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court – As messy and unfair as the process was, his confirmation secures another conservative jurist with an originalist constitutional approach and a restrained view of judicial power…With Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh in place, Trump has kept his promise to remake the high court with young, conservative thinkers.

Confronting China – Much of the heartland anxiety that vaulted Trump into the Oval Office emanates directly from the abusive economic warfare waged by China for decades against the United States. At long last, those workers find a champion in Donald Trump, who slapped serious tariffs upon Beijing and finally forced the regime to negotiate fairly…

Middle-Class Wages Rise – Incomes in general soared in 2018, with average hourly earnings finally eclipsing 3 percent growth for the first time since before the Great Recession. The news is even better for blue-collar workers, who now realize wage growth above that of white-collar workers for the first time in nearly a decade.

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal – Trump proved that America welcomes equitable global commerce by cementing a badly needed modernization of NAFTA. The USMCA provides a template for other such trade pacts and effectively isolates China’s increasingly untenable posture.

Ending the Iran Nuclear Deal – …Instead of counting the billions of dollars of cash sent via secret nighttime flights by the Obama administration, the Tehran regime now faces a U.S. leadership determined to thwart its tyranny and prevent its nuclearization.

Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem – …Past presidents promised for decades to make this move and U.S. law has required it since 1995, but only President Trump made good on his pledge, honored our ally, and recognized the obvious reality that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.

Smashing the ISIS Caliphate and Exiting Syria – …Unlike his predecessor…President Trump smartly dispatched limited U.S. troops to help our partners erase the territorial caliphate that had inflicted unspeakable human rights abuses…

Increasing Minority Jobs – If Trump is actually racist, as biased mainstream media “journalists” often claim, he’s remarkably bad at it, because people of color have thrived under the pro-growth policies of the Trump Boom…

Holding the Line with Migrant Caravans – In the face of continual demagoguery from liberal politicians and their allies in the legacy media, President Trump took a tough and principled stance against would-be trespassers…

Record American Oil Production – In 2018, the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil.

There’s a lot to chew on.

Have at it.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Condemning All Bigotry and Discrimination With Equal Force

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:36 am

[guest post by Dana]

Jaweed Kaleem, the national race and justice correspondent at the Los Angeles Times, considers whether Muslims can find a home in the Republican Party. Central to his inquiry is a report that the Tarrant County GOP in Texas is voting on whether to remove Shahid Shafi as vice chairman. This because he is a Muslim:

Muslim Americans will reach a milestone next week when Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar join the House of Representatives. The Democrats from Michigan and Minnesota will be the first Muslim women in Congress, and many have hailed their election as a sign of rising diversity in politics.

On the other side of the aisle, a brewing controversy over a GOP leader in Texas targeted by fellow party members because of his Muslim faith is also drawing national attention. It has become a test case for an issue the Republican Party struggles with as voters in Texas and beyond grow more racially and religiously diverse: Is there room for Muslims?

Members of the Tarrant County Republican Party will vote Jan. 10 on whether Shahid Shafi, a 53-year-old trauma surgeon and city councilman in the Fort Worth suburb of Southlake since 2014, should be removed as a vice chairman.

A precinct chairwoman forced the vote after making unproven claims that Shafi, who has served as a delegate to several GOP state conventions, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorism and wants to impose sharia law. Other precinct chairs have joined in the calls to remove Shafi.

Shafi, who has forcefully denied the accusations, declined to be interviewed. In a statement, he said he would not “allow this small group of closed-minded people to damage our party.”

“I have never had any association with the Muslim Brotherhood … nor any terrorist organization,” Shafi said. “I believe that the laws of our nation are our Constitution and the laws passed by our elected legislatures — I have never promoted any form of sharia law.”

It was after his appointment to the position in July that ugly Facebooks posts about Shafi and his faith, started appearing. The calls for the vote to remove him come from a bigoted precinct chairwoman:

Dorrie O’Brien, a precinct chairwoman from Grand Prairie, called for the vote — under party rules, a single chairperson can propose an appointee’s removal — and is among those spearheading the campaign against Shafi. On a Facebook posting about him, O’Brien appeared to say Muslims were inherently extremist.

“ISIS is Islam with all the public fakery removed,” she wrote, referring to the Islamic State militant group. In an interview, she said she and allies “certainly have enough votes” to oust Shafi.

O’Brien declined to answer further questions and referred The Times to a December article on the website Jihad Watch that quoted her. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Jihad Watch, which it says is based in Sherman Oaks, as an anti-Muslim hate group.

“We believe that Dr. Shafi is unsuitable to be the face and voice representative for all Republicans in Tarrant County,” O’Brien says in the article. “There are too many questions surrounding him on too many issues.”

Aside from targeting Shafi’s religion, O’Brien and her allies have questioned whether he is sufficiently pro-Israel and whether he’s really a conservative.

In his statement, Shafi said he believes in “Israel’s right to exist” and listed his conservative credentials, including training local GOP candidates and founding a Republican club in Southlake.

To their credit, and as they should, notable Texas GOP leaders have come out in support of Shafi, condemning all religious tests:

[S]tate party leaders this month passed a resolution [in a vote of 63-0] to “reaffirm our core values of religious liberty and the freedom to practice all faiths.”

Prominent party members, including Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz, have spoken out in his favor. “The party of Lincoln should welcome everybody & celebrate liberty,” Cruz tweeted this month.

It seems unbelievable that this is where a wing of the GOP is at in 2019. In Tarrant County, at least, the Big Tent party appears to have been replaced by a Little Pup Tent of bigotry and discrimination, designed for only a few of the right kind of Republicans from a county of 2 million people. In spite of the swift condemnation by Texas GOP members, the impact of this discrimination could spell trouble for Republicans down the line:

“There is no doubt that the Republican Party has lost American Muslim support,” said Republican activist Suhail Khan, a Muslim who was a White House appointee under President George W. Bush and volunteered with Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. A corporate attorney living in Washington, D.C., Khan founded the Conservative Inclusion Coalition eight years ago to recruit Muslims and other racially and religiously diverse groups to conservative causes.

Khan called Shafi one of the “most prominent” sitting elected Muslim Republicans today. He described the politician as among a handful of remaining lines of defense for the Republican Party in a time when it has been accused of being anti-Muslim through its association with Trump.

“Dr. Shafi’s situation is an unfortunate case of discrimination and bigotry,” Khan said.

Darl Easton, the Republican Party chairman in Tarrant County who appointed Shafi to his position, agreed.

“There are some people in our party who are plain anti-Muslim,” Easton said.

Both were in firm agreement that the president had nothing to do with this situation or for anti-Muslim sentiment.

More from Shafi’s statement:

“The call to remove me from the party of Lincoln and Reagan because of my religion is wrong for several reasons,” Shafi said. “First, discrimination based upon religion is illegal, immoral, unethical, un-American, and against the foundations of our country and the principles of our party. Second, it plays right into the false narrative of racism and bigotry fomented against the Republican party. Third, it distracts from our core value of religious liberty.”

In his statement, Shafi touted his conservative values: “I support our 2nd Amendment rights unconditionally, and I believe in the sanctity of life from conception onwards. I believe in small government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, religious freedom, school choice, energy independence, rule of law, and secure borders.”

So, what’s not to like?

A few observations. First, with regard to whether the president has anything to do with anti-Muslim sentiments and this case specifically: I think to say he does is to give him to much credit while taking ownership away from the bigots for their own indecency. While the president clearly has his own issues with bigotry, let’s let adults be responsible for themselves and the choices they make. Whether an individual’s choice is to love their neighbor or whether it’s to “otherize” their neighbor because of their faith and/or skin color and subsequently cast them into their little smug, bigoted basket of deplorables, it’s on them. Let them own their own choices, and let them own the consequences of those decisions. Why give them any room to blame someone else for what they themselves have chosen to do?

Also, because this is ugly bigoted and discriminatory behavior that is rightfully being condemned, all bigotry should be as equally condemned. With that, while Jaweed Kaleem, author of the LAT report about the mistreatment of Dr. Shafi by members of Tarrant County GOP, praises the milestone of two Muslim American women of color joining the House of Representatives, he conveniently neglects to mention their own public bigotry and anti-Semitism:


(Yes, the tweet is from 2012, but if the rule makers said it was okay to “resurface” tweets from a Heisman trophy winner from six years ago when he was a 15-year old kid, how much more important coming from a then 30+ year old adult who happens to also be a newly elected official?)

And while Kyler Murray apologized for his bigoted tweets, Omar hasn’t. In fact, she’s double-downed, making her views unequivocally clear:

During her campaign, Omar met with members of the district’s large Jewish population to address concerns over past statements about Israel. In a commonly referenced tweet from 2012, when the Israeli military carried out an aerial campaign against rocket attacks by Hamas, Omar wrote that Israel had “hypnotized the world” and made reference to its “evil doings.”

In a recent interview with the Star Tribune, Omar characterized attention to her tweets about Israel as an effort to “stigmatize and shame me into saying something other than what I believed.”

This year, Omar also referred to Israel as an “apartheid regime”.

Moreover, newly elected Rashida Tlaib outs herself with regard to Israel:

Tlaib has embraced a one-state solution and denying the Jews their right to a sovereign nation. “Separate but equal does not work,” she said in an interview, citing her Palestinian heritage as her rationale. (Funny how fellow Rep. Justin Amash, who is largely isolationist on foreign policy, has never used his Palestinian heritage as a scapegoat; Amash publicly supports a two-state solution.)

Like [Rep. Steve] King, the company Tlaib keeps gives the lie to her intentions. In 2014, she headlined a BDS rally with a fellow speaker, Dawud Walid, a flagrant anti-Semite who has blamed the “wrath of Allah” on “the Jews.” Tlaib is also a friend of Linda Sarsour and an admirer of Rasmea Odeh, an anti-Semitic terrorist.

Quite clearly, in certain circles, all acts of bigotry and discrimination are not equal. Nor are they equally condemned, as they should be. And that dishonesty is perhaps the greatest shame of all.



Last Known Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Fighter Passes Away

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:58 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is my third post in a row about someone passing away. Entirely unplanned, I assure you. Lest anyone suspect I’ve developed a morbid fixation on death, I haven’t. But what I have done is learn about three individuals that I never had the pleasure of meeting, and from all accounts, they each seemed to understand that their worlds were bigger than themselves.

With that, news came last week that Simcha Rotem, a Jew who fought against the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1943, passed away at the age of 94:

Born in 1924, Rotem was 15 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

The Warsaw ghetto initially held some 380,000 Jews who were cramped into tight living spaces, and at its peak housed about a half million.

Resistance began to grow after July 1942, when 265,000 men, women and children were rounded up and later killed at the Treblinka death camp. As word of the Nazi genocide spread, those who remained behind in the ghetto no longer believed German promises that they would be sent to forced labor camps.

A small group of rebels began to spread calls for resistance, carrying out isolated acts of sabotage and attacks. Some Jews began defying German orders to report for deportation.

The Nazis entered the ghetto on April 19, 1943, the eve of Passover. Three days later, the Nazis set the ghetto ablaze, turning it into a fiery death trap, but the Jewish fighters kept up their struggle for nearly a month before they were brutally vanquished.

“Right at the beginning, when I saw the mass of German forces enter the ghetto, my initial reaction — and I guess I wasn’t alone in this — was one of hopelessness,” Rotem said later, as quoted in Haaretz.

“What chance did we have with our miserable supply of firearms to hold off this show of German force with machine-guns, personnel carriers and even tanks? … An absolute sense of powerlessness prevailed.”

The teenage Rotem served as a liaison between bunkers and took part in the fighting, before arranging for the escape of some of the last survivors through sewers.

This is from an article covering a lecture Rotem gave in 1997:

One of Simha “Kazik” Rotem’s most painful memories is of the time he worked with other Jews to resist the Nazi invasion of his native Poland. While on patrol in the Warsaw ghetto, he searched through the rubble and found a young mother, dead, with a crying infant still in her arms. “I stopped for a moment and then went on,” he said.

Speaking in hushed tones to an audience of more than 600 at the eighth University Wallenberg Lecture on Nov. 19, Rotem said in that moment he understood that in addition to annihilating thousands of Jews, the Nazis also “had robbed me of my humanity.”

Rotem, who was only 15 years old in 1939 when he watched the Nazis enter Warsaw, fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, defying the Nazis for almost a month. He helped lead the few surviving Jews out of the ruins of the ghetto through the underground sewer canal system to the “Aryan” side of Warsaw and then into the countryside.

Posing as a gentile and using the code name “Kazik,” Rotem was head courier for the Jewish underground and responsible for providing food and shelter for thousands of Jews living in the Warsaw ghetto. After the ghetto was destroyed, he fought with the Poles in the Home Army and the People’s Army, continuing to aid the remaining Jews in Warsaw.

Rotem said he frequently is asked why Jews allowed the Nazis to lead them like lambs to the slaughter and why they waited so long to resist. What many don’t realize is the speed with which the Nazis conquered Poland in 1939, he explained. It was captured within only four weeks. Although many Jews thought the discriminatory treatment would end and life would return to normal, Rotem said, “The first contact I had with the Germans, I felt a pending disaster.”

For a thousand years of Polish history Jews had lived with discrimination in every area of their lives. “For us, ghettos and killings were not something new,” Rotem said. However, during World War I, the Jews had been treated relatively decently by the Germans.

Explaining that it is impossible to adequately describe living conditions in the Warsaw ghetto, Rotem said Jews, who had lost their sources of income, were suffering from starvation and disease. The Nazis created tremendous confusion by separating the healthy from the sick, the young from the old, and the productive from the non-productive, he said. They also closed the schools and forbade cultural activities. “The goal,” he said, “was to turn us into working cadavers.”

Despite the German restrictions, Rotem said, “everyone tried to survive.” Illegal schools opened and small children helped smuggle limited quantities of food into the ghetto.

However, when the first massive deportation was announced in 1942, tens of thousands of hungry Jews turned themselves in for “six pounds of bread and some jam.” They had been hungry for so long that they didn’t know what else to do. Also, most of them still didn’t believe that the Germans planned to exterminate the Jews, Roten recalled.

It was an incredible life, and one lived on behalf of others. In 1946, Rotem moved to Israel, where he became a successful businessman.

In reading about Rotem’s passing, I am reminded of Bari Weiss’s excellent op-ed in the New York Times last month, which focused on the rising Anti-semitism in Europe and the disturbing number of individuals who are admittedly Anti-semitic and/or, shockingly, have very little knowledge, if any, about the Holocaust:

On Tuesday, a CNN poll about the state of anti-Semitism in Europe startled many Americans — and confirmed what Jews who have been paying attention already knew about the Continent.

Not 74 years since the Holocaust ended, a third of respondents said they knew only a little or nothing at all about it.

The poll, which surveyed more than 7,000 people across Austria, France, Germany, Britain, Hungary, Poland and Sweden, didn’t only discover ignorance. It exposed bigotry.

Nearly a quarter of the respondents said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars. More than a quarter believe that Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in five believe that most anti-Semitism is a response to the behavior of Jews. Roughly a third say Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own goals. Just 54 percent say Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state.

Many religious Jews in Paris and Berlin wear baseball hats instead of kippot in public. Nearly half of Dutch Jews say they are afraid to identify publicly as Jewish. Every French Jew I’ve ever met who can afford it has bought an apartment in Israel or Montreal.

As has been noted by many, as the aged eye-witnesses pass on, there is an increased danger that this insidious chapter of history will fade from view and that anti-Semitism will have its way. Again. Weiss is also concerned, yet suggests something more than just the silence of the survivors as the reason why:

The postwar generation who lived with the shame of the Holocaust is dying out. Their children and grandchildren are less abashed when it comes to the old prejudices.

In her forthcoming book, “Anti-Semitism: Here and Now,” the scholar Deborah Lipstadt discusses a 2013 study of overtly anti-Semitic letters, emails and faxes received over the previous decade by the Israeli embassy in Berlin and the Central Council of Jews in Germany. The study found that 60 percent of the messages “came from educated, middle-class Germans, including lawyers, scholars, doctors, priests, professors, and university and secondary school students.” Even more remarkable, most of the letter writers provided their names and addresses.

It is a must-read piece, especially as she discusses the hatred of Jews by Europe’s neo-Fascist right, popular Anti-semetic politicians, political groups who dismiss Nazis as “little more than a speck of bird poop,” radicalized Muslims, and “the fashionable anti-Semitism of the far left that masquerades as anti-Zionism and anti-racism.”

She sums up this “three-headed dragon” that the European Jews must now contend with, and points out that there is now the manifestation of these “three strains of hate” in the U.S. as well:

Physical fear of violent assault, often by young Muslim men, which leads many Jews to hide evidence of their religious identity. Moral fear of ideological vilification, mainly by the far left, which causes at least some Jews to downplay their sympathies for Israel. And political fear of resurgent fascism, which can cause some cognitive dissonance since at least some of Europe’s neo-fascists profess sympathy for Israel while expressing open hostility to Muslims.

In his eloquent essay from 2016, Jeff Jacoby lamented that eventually even the Holocaust would be lost to time’s passage:

For survivors like my father, and for the sons and daughters they raised, it goes without saying that “Never Forget” remains an ineradicable moral imperative. I have always taken the Holocaust personally, and always will. But the world, I know, will not. Eventually, everything is forgotten. Even the worst crime in history.

One certainly hopes not.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 154

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the first Sunday after Christmas. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren” (My dearest Jesus is lost).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 2:41-52:

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

My beloved Jesus is missing:
O word which brings me despair,
O sword, which thrusts through my soul,
O word of thunder in my ears.

. . . .

You must go to Him
in His Father’s house, into his temple;
There He is visible in his Word,
there He will refresh you in the sacrament

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Young Staff Writer At The Federalist Passes Away After Sudden Illness

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Our days on earth are certainly numbered. While Richard Overton was gifted with a record 112 years, Federalist writer Bre Payton left this world today at 26 years of age. According to reports, a friend found Payton ““unresponsive and barely breathing,” and called 911, and was “admitted to the ICU, sedated & intubated, and doctors began working up a diagnosis,” the post said. “After a CT scan and hours of testing, they have determined she has the H1N1 flu and possibly meningitis.””

Over at The Federalist website, she is remembered as a vibrant gift to those who knew her:

Bre brightened the lives of everyone around her. She was joyful, hard-working, and compassionate, and she leaves behind friends and colleagues for whom she brought nothing but sweetness and light.

While Payton made her bread and butter from writing about politics and culture at a conservative media outlet, politics (of any kind) fade into irrelevancy in light of her passing. Given that Payton’s colleagues inform us that she “lived a life marked by deep Christian faith…,” I pray that the loved ones she leaves behind hold onto the same faith and are overwhelmed by God’s nearness as they walk together through a dark, deep valley of sorrow.


Nation’s Oldest War Veteran Has Passed Away

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

I should add that Richard Overton, beloved resident of Austin, TX, was not only the oldest living WWII veteran but also the nation’s oldest living man. His amazing life came to a close on Thursday, after a bout of pneumonia:

Austin resident Richard Overton, who was America’s oldest man and oldest war veteran, died Thursday. Overton, who was honored for his military service and beloved for his propensity to enjoy his supercentenarian status with a cigar in one hand and a glass of whiskey in another, was 112 years old.

He died Thursday evening at a rehabilitation facility in Austin, said his cousin Volma Overton Jr. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia at St. David’s Medical Center for more than a week before he was admitted into the rehab facility on Christmas Eve.

People paid their respects at his East Austin home Thursday night with few bouquets of flowers and candles. A sign on his door from his 112th birthday celebration read, “Making friends since 1906.”

Overton’s military service began months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. This is excerpted from an interview with Overton, when he was a mere 107 years old and getting ready to take an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. to view the WWII monument:

Mr. Overton was born (in 1906!) in St. Mary’s in Bastrop County. Married twice and with no children, he worked in Austin furniture stores for many years and became well-known at the Capitol, including a stint handling mail and deliveries for then-Treasurer Ann Richards.

“That was my buddy,” he said of the late Richards. “We were big friends. I knew her when she used to drink.”

Mr. Overton’s World War II stories are typical for the greatest generationers who did so much for us and asked so little for it. He was in the Army. He served in the South Pacific. He landed, under fire, on too many beaches on too many islands for him to recall. The records show he served from September 1942 until October 1945 and made stops in Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Guam, Palau, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

“We got in the foxholes, and bullets were coming over our heads,” he said matter of factly of one landing, adding vivid memories of clearing dead bodies from the battlefield.

To make sure Overton would not have to move out of the Austin home that he paid $4,000 for after the war and lived in for more that 70 years, Overton’s family started a GoFundMe campaign in 2016 and received enough in donations that Overton was able to remain in his home with around-the-clock care.

Here is lovely glimpse of the American treasure during his 112th birthday party, via The Statesman:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Podiatrist’s Daughters Allege That Their Father Helped Donald Trump Avoid Vietnam

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:13 am

[guest post by Dana]

The New York Times investigates whether President Trump’s medical exemption during Vietnam was the result of a Queen’s podiatrist doing a favor for Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump, who happened to own the building in which the podiatrist rented office space. According to the podiatrist’s daughters, it was:

The podiatrist, Dr. Larry Braunstein, died in 2007. But his daughters say their father often told the story of coming to the aid of a young Mr. Trump during the Vietnam War as a favor to his father.

“I know it was a favor,” said one daughter, Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, who along with her sister, Sharon Kessel, 53, shared the family’s account for the first time publicly when contacted by The New York Times.

Elysa Braunstein said the implication from her father was that Mr. Trump did not have a disqualifying foot ailment. “But did he examine him? I don’t know,” she said.

For decades, Dr. Braunstein saw patients in a congested ground-floor office below Edgerton Apartments in Jamaica, Queens, one of dozens of buildings owned by the Trumps in the 1960s. The family sold the building in 2004, records show.

A portrait of Dr. Braunstein from his podiatry school yearbook. His daughters say he made the diagnosis as a favor to Fred C. Trump, Donald’s father.

“What he got was access to Fred Trump,” Elysa Braunstein said. “If there was anything wrong in the building, my dad would call and Trump would take care of it immediately. That was the small favor that he got.”

No paper evidence has been found to help corroborate the version of events described by the Braunstein family, who also suggested there was some involvement by a second podiatrist, Dr. Manny Weinstein. Dr. Weinstein, who died in 1995, lived in two apartments in Brooklyn owned by Fred Trump; city directories show he moved into the first during the year Donald Trump received his exemption.

Dr. Braunstein’s daughters said their father left no medical records with the family, and a doctor who purchased his practice said he was unaware of any documents related to Mr. Trump. Most detailed government medical records related to the draft no longer exist, according to the National Archives.

The doctor’s daughters said his role in Mr. Trump’s military exemption had long been the subject of discussions among relatives and friends.

“It was family lore,” said Elysa Braunstein. “It was something we would always discuss.”

She said her father was initially proud that he had helped a “famous guy” in New York real estate. But later, her father, a lifelong Democrat who had served in the Navy during World War II, grew tired of Donald Trump as he became a fixture in the tabloid gossip pages and a reality television star, she said. The daughters, both Democrats, say they are not fans of Mr. Trump.

Dr. Braunstein’s daughters said his role in Mr. Trump’s military exemption had long been the subject of discussions among relatives and friends.

Dr. Alec Hochstein, who worked with Dr. Braunstein in the late 1990s, said the podiatrist had recalled over dinner with their wives how the Trumps had treated him well, including backing off from rent increases. Dr. Hochstein did not remember any discussions related to Mr. Trump’s medical exemption.

“He spoke very highly of the Trumps, and they were very open to negotiating with him and letting him stay in the space at a rent he was comfortable with,” Dr. Hochstein said.

As a reminder:

Back in 1968, at the age of 22, Donald J. Trump seemed the picture of health.

He stood 6 feet 2 inches with an athletic build; had played football, tennis and squash; and was taking up golf. His medical history was unblemished, aside from a routine appendectomy when he was 10.

But after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels.

The diagnosis resulted in a coveted 1-Y medical deferment that fall, exempting him from military service as the United States was undertaking huge troop deployments to Southeast Asia, inducting about 300,000 men into the military that year.

The deferment was one of five Mr. Trump received during Vietnam. The others were for education.

Certainly Trump was not the only politician to receive military deferments. See: Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton, etc.

None of this is surprising. Wealthy individuals using their power and position to help privileged young men avoid the draft was not uncommon. Unfortunately, the accepted practice unfairly impacted low-income families:

According to a report by the American Economic Review, the college-enrollment rate among young American men rose — and then fell — abruptly between 1965 and 1975. According to the report, many have said these patterns resulted from draft deferments.

This led to the majority of those who served in Vietnam to come from low-income families, a point made in 2017 by the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam prisoner of war.

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America,” McCain said in an interview. “And the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we’re going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

Elliot Ackerman, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, wrote in a Time magazine article that “student deferments and various loopholes most often exclusively leveraged by the well-off, or influential, the brunt of that conflict fell to America’s poorest, most marginalized citizens, creating a toxic social rift.”

More of the rich and powerful playing by a different set of rules. But rest assured, years after the conflict in Vietnam ended, Donald Trump shared that he too had endured his own Vietnam. Describing his perilous journey, he noted that he managed to outmaneuver and avoid the dangerous landmines of a feared enemy. Like a soldier. Like a hero:

“It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it. I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world, it is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider,” Trump said in the interview when Howard Stern asked how he handled making sure he wasn’t contracting STDs from the women he was sleeping with.

Also appearing on Stern’s show in 1993, Trump bragged about his promiscuous lifestyle while single and stated that men who didn’t go to Vietnam didn’t need to feel guilty because dating during the AIDS epidemic in the ’80s was also dangerous.

“You know, if you’re young, and in this era, and if you have any guilt about not having gone to Vietnam, we have our own Vietnam — it’s called the dating game,” Trump said to Stern in a 1993 interview. “Dating is like being in Vietnam. You’re the equivalent of a soldier going over to Vietnam.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



President Trump Visits The Troops

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

President Trump is in the news today for having made a surprise visit to the troops in Iraq:



In typical fashion, a big media outlet jumped the gun because Trump. NBC published this headline on Christmas day:

Trump becomes first president since 2002 not to visit troops at Christmastime


As of today, NBC has not corrected the headline. However, there is now an editor’s note published ahead of the report:

Editor’s note: On Wednesday, a day after this article was published, President Trump made a surprise visit to Iraq to greet U.S. troops. It was his first presidential visit to a combat zone.

From NBC’s report:

On Christmas Day, President Donald Trump took part in a long-running practice of presidents who called troops stationed around the country and the world.

But he broke from a recent tradition of actually visiting troops and wounded warriors. He did so in 2017, when he visited wounded troops at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 21 (and invited Coast Guard service members to play golf at his course in West Palm Beach, Florida).

By staying home on Tuesday, Trump became the first president since 2002 who didn’t visit military personnel around Christmastime.

Interestingly, White House correspondent at NBC News Kelly O’Donnell tweeted that no details of the trip had been released to the public, which is standard practice due to security reasons. She also noted that back in November, President Trump alluded to an upcoming trip to visit the troops:


NBC wasn’t alone:


I’m sure there are more out there, but you get the point.

Honestly, I don’t get why this is even an issue to jump on. But everything these days is when it involves Trump. And let’s face it, he gives everyone a lot to work with. So he went to visit the troops, that doesn’t make him a saint. Trump is still Trump. But. Who is anyone to criticize that which bolsters the morale of American men and women serving our country thousands of miles from home? Shouldn’t that be something we universally cheer on, regardless of which president made the trip? This seems like such a no-brainer to me. Apparently, the go-to comeback to news that the president did indeed visit the troops at Christmastime is that he was shamed into it. I say, so what? It seems ludicrous to me that troops missing their families back home really care about anyone scoring political points, or pundits smugly gloating, But he was shamed into it! Certainly our deployed troops have far more pressing matters with which to be concerned.

You’d think politics could be damned for just one brief moment, but apparently not. More’s the pity.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Merry Christmas!

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Merry Christmas to all Patterico readers!

Here is some music for the occasion. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I know, expressing a beautiful sentiment: Jay Semko’s “Asleep in the Loving Arms of God”:

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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